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Big Ben not yet at top of class

November 15, 2007
The Altoona Mirror
Ben Roethlisberger is currently enjoying the best season by a Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback in the team’s history.

His quarterback rating right now is 110.2, which would break his own team record of 98.6, and with 22 touchdown passes, he’s on pace to shatter the Steelers’ season mark of 28.

His play has many, including his teammates, comparing him to the best quarterbacks in the NFL, New England’s Tom Brady and Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning.

Roethlisberger is performing at a high level and can make plays on the football field that those other two cannot, but until he strings together three or four Pro Bowl-type seasons in a row, he shouldn’t be included among those other two.

Let’s not forget, Roethlisberger is coming off a season in which he quarterbacked the Steelers to seven wins in 15 games, threw 23 interceptions and had a passer rating of 75.4.

In seven seasons as the Patriots’ quarterback, Brady has never dipped below an 85 rating. He’s also won three Super Bowls with two MVPs and has a 12-2 playoff record.

Manning hasn’t had a passer rating lower than 84 since his rookie season when he was on a terrible team, and he’s earned a Super Bowl MVP, seven Pro Bowl appearances and two NFL MVP honors.

And don’t forget about Brett Favre, either.

Roethlisberger may be arguably the better of the second tier of NFL quarterbacks that include Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, Eli Manning and Matt Hasselbeck.

Many quarterbacks have produced great seasons — like New Orleans’ Drew Brees last year — but until they come closer to what Manning and Brady have done year-in and year-out over the last seven seasons, the comparisons should cease.

Quick hitters

n Many point to Big Ben’s scrambling ability as what makes him unique, but Manning, not known for his running, has rushed for 16 touchdowns in his career.

n Of course, Roethlisberger has never thrown six interceptions in a game.

n Two words on why the Steelers are having trouble covering kickoffs: No Chidi.

n One position stands out when looking over the starting lineup of the Steelers’ Sunday opponent, the New York Jets — cornerback. They start two former Pitt players, rookie Darrelle Revis and Hank Poteat, the ex-Steeler from years ago who could never log quality playing time. Get the feeling the Steelers may be throwing a lot Sunday?

n The NFL standings and leaders seem a lot simpler once all of the teams are done with their byes.

NFL Week No. 11

Game of the week: New York Giants (6-3) at Detroit Lions (6-3), 1 p.m. Sunday (FOX). These two are looking more and more like they’ll be the NFC wild-card teams.

Upset special: Baltimore (+3) at home vs. Cleveland.

Fantasy tip: The Giants-Lions game has the makings of a high-scoring affair.

Buck Frank can be reached at 946-7461 or

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